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A Little Someone Arrives and Changes His Life

At the prospect of becoming a first-time father, writer Craig Tomashoff started keeping a journal to log the ups and downs of parenthood. For Father's Day, we share a portion of his journey.


The First Time

Sept. 20, 1996

It begins with urine. Usually, peeing is not a task you want to spend much time thinking about, but today it was the most important thing in my world. That's because my wife, Judy, used a home pregnancy test and turned the stick pink. Which I now know is the color of prospective parenthood.

Sept. 30

Judy had her first gynecologist appointment today. She brought home a sonogram picture of the little guy (or girl), and, while I was happy to see it, I think I was expecting too much from it. To me, the hazy picture looks more like a weather map of the U.S. in the dead of winter, and the baby's head has all the clarity of a tiny snow squall over Des Moines.

Oct. 14

I'm not sure how to begin here. These are some of the toughest words I've ever had to write, because putting them on paper makes it all so final. Our baby is gone. Judy has had problems with bleeding for several days now, and I had pretended I wasn't worried. This was normal, I insisted, as if I knew anything about the matter. Of course, I was wrong. The doctor informed us this afternoon that Judy had miscarried. It's only now, in this moment of loss, that I really can see how badly I wanted this child to happen for us.

The Second Time Around

Feb. 17, 1997

We're baaaaaaaaack! The stick is pink again. Based on previous experience, I think we'll adopt the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy for the time being and try to keep this pregnancy a secret.

April 8

I just had my first official baby dream. I'm in the frontyard of our old house, holding my new son. He's the size of my palm, and I think that's perfectly normal. I stroke him affectionately on the head, the way I pet my cat. I'm guessing this dream is an indicator that I still have a lot to learn about proper parenting skills.

April 22

It's Amnio Day. Because of Judy's age, 34, her doctor suggested she have the test to make sure all is going well. The sonogram portion of the program went well. For the first time, I saw little hands, little arms, little legs and feet. I looked at the tyke with the same fascination I looked at "E.T.," a baffling yet adorably surreal creature from another world. I felt in awe, yet at the same time, more content than I ever have.

Then came the actual amniocentesis test. Yes, there is a needle involved. And yes, it is actually poked right into the womb. All went well. Judy said she barely felt the process. All I could think about as I watched was: Welcome to the first annual Glad I'm a Guy Day.

April 24

We've decided we do not want to know the baby's sex. The gender is one of the few mysteries we could have left, and I like that idea. In the meantime, I would like some way to refer to the spudlet besides "it" (that just sounds too "Addams Family"). After much debate, we've settled on Bootsy.

May 2

The verdict is in. The amnio results came back clean, and Bootsy is one happy bundle of healthy chromosomes. Now I'll have to find other things to worry about, like what college he'll get into. There was one problem with today's report, though. The nurse messed up and told Judy the baby's sex. I won't let her tell me.

May 12

Here's a surreal moment. During dinner, I looked at Judy and I swear she looked bigger than when I saw her at breakfast. She looked terrific, certainly, but larger. It's almost like a magic trick.

May 31

Everybody knows about the mood swings a mother-elect goes through, thanks to hormones that flood through her body like the Atlantic Ocean through the Titanic. But what about dads-to-be? As far as I know, I'm not experiencing a hormone surge, but I am starting to deal with raging emotions. Suddenly, I see a dad talking to his baby in the grocery store or a news story about an abandoned baby and I get as choked up as I did when the Boston Red Sox blew Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

June 4

We have movement. Judy has been telling me for weeks now that she was feeling something swimming around inside her belly, but tonight was the first time I put my hand on her and felt it too. The sensation was exhilarating. And odd. There's something about feeling one life paddling around inside another that causes the little hairs to stand up on the back of your neck.

July 7

Don't get me wrong. There really is a special kind of sexiness that only a pregnant woman can display. It involves an air of confidence, of fulfillment, that is hard to resist. Still, the magic is pretty much on hold when your wife asks you to cut her toenails because she can't see them anymore.

July 25

Judy and I finally got around to seriously discussing what to name Bootsy. She has the advantage here, knowing the gender, but after surprisingly little discussion, we settled on a moniker for both sexes. Roman for a boy, Isabella for a girl.

Aug. 15

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